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Restored Texas Centennial marker now rests at Burnet County Courthouse

Texas Centennial monument at Burnet County Courthouse

One of two original Texas Centennial monuments rests in its new home on the east lawn of the Burnet County Courthouse in Burnet. The other monument, which was installed in 1936 on U.S. 281 north of Burnet, is still missing. The pictured stone was originally in a roadside park on the southwest side of the U.S. 281 bridge in Marble Falls. It disappeared but was recently found at the bottom of a hill just off of the road. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Now completely restored, a large granite stone commemorating the 100th anniversary of Texas Independence Day has received its new plaques and been installed on the east side of the Burnet County Courthouse in Burnet. An unveiling is planned for sometime in the near future by the Burnet County Historical Commission, which was in charge of the restoration.

The around 5,000-pound stone was originally installed in 1936 at a now long-gone roadside park on the southwest side of the U.S. 281 bridge in Marble Falls. It was one of 1,100 monuments placed across the state by the Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations. Many of the monuments have disappeared without a trace.

The Marble Falls marker had been stripped of its bronze and pushed down a hill behind La Quinta Inn, probably during one of several Texas Department of Transportation projects to widen the bridge and roadway.

Texas Centennial marker found in Marble Falls
A block of granite discovered at the bottom of a hill between U.S. 281 and the back parking lot of La Quinta Inn in Marble Falls was what was left of a Texas Centennial marker installed near that spot in 1936. The marker has since been restored and moved to the east side of the Burnet County Courthouse in Burnet. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

It was discovered by two Cottonwood Shores history buffs, Nichole and Michael Ritchie, who were profiled as Picayune People in a 2022 issue of The Picayune Magazine.

The couple found listings for two Burnet County centennial markers in an old book given to them by a friend. The markers were both placed on U.S. 281: one in Marble Falls by the bridge and the other north of Burnet. 

“The Burnet one has been gone for at least 20 years,” Michael told The Picayune Magazine in 2022. “The one in Marble Falls has been missing for probably about 30.”

Using directions in the book, they walked the hill between U.S. 281 and the La Quinta parking lot and found the Marble Falls stone. Together with TxDOT and the local historical commission, the Ritchies were instrumental in getting the monument restored and moved.

New plaques were ordered and attached to the stone with metal rods. The top plaque reads: 

Formed from portions of Travis, Williamson, and Bell Counties
Created February 5, 1852
Organized August 28, 1852
Named in honor of David G. Burnet 
President of the provisional government of the Republic of Texas in 1836
County seat, Burnet, famous for its granite mountains